What’s one of the most valuable attributes a boss can bring to the table when dealing with employees? An increasing number of management experts point to candor as a vital element of a healthy employer-employee relationship. When thinking about candor, focus on both sides of the coin. Challenging and direct communication remains an important factor, but it works best when you pair it with a personal level of care and commitment to the employee.
Related to communicative transparency, candor serves as a crucial element in situations that require decision makers to the relevant information necessary for wise choices. Sometimes those choices have a life-or-death quality as numerous studies by NASA and other groups show with airline crashes. These accidents often happen due to faulty communication, with pilots neglecting to share information with one another. Further studies show that when pilots go out of their way to ask for candid communication from their crews on how to handle situations, these actions drastically increase safety levels.
As researcher Kim Scott points out in her book, “Radical Candor,” employers must strike a balance between candor and empathy. While employees want bosses to be understanding, too much empathy can prove disastrous in the long run. Failing to give employees honest feedback can set them up for failure and lead to deeply hurt feelings, while candor that’s too aggressive can create a work environment that feels hostile and discouraging. The “radical candor” balance contrasts this by suggesting you acknowledge the personal yet professional nature of workplace interactions while delivering hard messages concisely and non-judgmentally when an employee’s work falls short short. Communications that rely on workplace candor ultimately send a message of respect and foster an environment of healthy trust.